Irish Times Debate

The Irish Times National Debating Championship is a debating competition for students in higher education in Ireland. It has been run since 1960, sponsored by The Irish Times. While most participants represent institutions in the Republic of Ireland, institutions in Northern Ireland are also eligible.


The Union of Students in Ireland approached The Irish Times in 1960 to secure sponsorship for an Irish equivalent of the Observer Mace, a debating competition started in Britain in 1954. The "Debating Union of Ireland" was formed for a time, but later The Irish Times would appoint a student convenor each year, often a previous year's winner. Until the 1970s, the best teams and individual went on to compete in the final of the Observer Mace. (The Mace no longer has an individual competition.)

In 1979, Gary Holbrook of Metropolitan State College of Denver was on sabbatical at Trinity College Dublin and was impressed with the debate. In 1980, he persuaded Coors Brewers to sponsor a debate tour of U.S. colleges for the winning team and individual speakers. The Irish were struck there by the very different approach of American debaters. Holbrook subsequently organised "Friends of the Irish Debate", sponsored by The Irish Times and Aer Lingus, to make the tour annual. The tour is now organised by the U.S. National Parliamentary Debate Association.

In 2010, a special celebration marked the debate's 50th anniversary.

Irish Times 2013

Convened by: Seán O'Quigley

Final: Emmigrate

First Proposition - Eoin O'Liatháin and Brian O'Beirne (TCD Phil)
First Opposition - Cormac McGuinness and Liam Ó Néill (TCD Hist)
Proposition Individuals - Rob McCarthy (UCD L&H) and Adam Kydd (Queens)
Opposition Individuals - Ríán Derrig (TCD Hist) and Kate Brady (TCD Hist)
Second Proposition - Austin Conlon and Aengus Boyle (UCD L&H)
Second Opposition - Liam Brophy and John Engle (TCD Bram Stoker)

Runner-Up Team: Eoin O'Liatháin and Brian O'Beirne (TCD Phil)
Runner-Up Individual: Rob McCarthy (UCD L&H)

Winning Team: Liam Brophy and John Engle (TCD Bram Stoker)
Winning Individual: Kate Brady (TCD Hist)

Irish Times 2012

Convened: Jeremy Kinsella

Final: Abolish Prisons

First Proposition - Ian Curran and Adam Noonan (TCD Hist)
First Opposition - Ruth Keating and Rebecca Keating (TCD Phil)
Proposition Individuals - Michael Conroy (UCD Medicine) and Hannah Lucey (UCD L&H)
Opposition Individuals - Liam Brophy (TCD Hist) and Ríán Derrig (TCD Hist)
Second Proposition - Eoin Kelleher and Elizabeth Ahern-Flynn (RCSI)
Second Opposition - Mark Haughton and Christine Simpson (UCD L&H)

Runner-Up Team: Mark Haughton and Christine Simpson (UCD L&H)
Runner-Up Individual: Liam Brophy (TCD Hist)

Winning Team: Eoin Kelliher and Elizabeth Ahern-Flynn (RCSI)
Winning Individual: Michael Conroy (UCD Medicine)


By Society

Society University Team wins Individual wins
College Historical Society Trinity College Dublin 14 11
Literary and Historical Society University College Dublin 11 12
Law Students' Debating Society of Ireland King's Inns 8 9
UCC Philosophical Society University College Cork 6 7
- Queen's University Belfast 3 1
Law Society University College Dublin 2 2
University Philosophical Society Trinity College Dublin 3 0
Literary and Debating Society National University of Ireland, Galway 1 2
RCSI Debating Society Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland 1 1
- New University of Ulster 1 1
- St. Patrick's College, Maynooth 1 1
Solicitors' Apprentices Debating Society of Ireland - 0 2
- Dublin City University 1 0
- University of Limerick 1 0
Bram Stoker Society Trinity College Dublin 1 0
- Griffith College Dublin 0 1
- Cadet School 0 1
- Dublin Institute of Technology 0 1

By Year

Year Team Society Team Speaker 1 Team Speaker 2 Individual Society Individual Speaker
1960 King's Inns Aidan Browne Charles Lysaght TCD Hist Neville Keery
1961 TCD Phil Hallam Johnston Jack Daniels UCD L&H Peter Donnelly
1962 QUB John Murtagh Michael Egan TCD Hist Ian Blake
1963 UCD L&H Patrick Cosgrave Anthony Clare RCSI Desmond King
1964 UCD L&H Patrick Cosgrave Anthony Clare King's Inns Terry McMahon
1965 TCD Hist David McConnell Cian Ó hÉigeartaigh QUB Eamonn McCann
1966 TCD Hist David McConnell Cian Ó hÉigeartaigh UCD L&H Esmond Smyth
1967 UCC Philosoph Donnchadh Ó Corráin Anthony J. Adolph King's Inns Kevin O'Higgins
1968 UCD L&H Roddy Buckley Dermot Gleeson UCD L&H Henry Kelly
1969 QUB Brendan Keenan Derek Davis UCC Philosoph Anthony J. Adolph
1970 UCD L&H Neal Clarke Donal O'Riain UCD L&H Adrian Hardiman
1971 TCD Hist Donnell Deeny Gregory Murphy DIT Bolton Street Marian Finucane
1972 TCD Hist Donnell Deeny Frank Bannister TCD Hist Donnell Deeny
1973 QUB Billy McRory Jimmy Hughes UCD L&H Adrian Hardiman
1974 TCD Hist David O'Sullivan James Connolly NUU Alex Lowry
1975 NUU Michael Hughes Kevin Cahill King's Inns Brian Curtin
1976 UCD L&H Paul Gill Gerry Danaher Maynooth Deirdre Murphy
1977 Maynooth Patrick Hennessy Gerry Maher UCD L&H Patrick Healy
1978 UCD Law Soc Conor Gearty Donal O'Donnell King's Inns Turlough O'Donnell
1979 UCD Law Soc Conor Gearty John O'Donnell UCD L&H Maurice Biggar
1980 UCD L&H Maurice Biggar Eugene McCague King's Inns Brian Havel
1981 UCD L&H Charlie Meehan Gerry Stembridge TCD Hist Sean Moran
1982 TCD Phil Michael Byrne Gerry Foley UCC Philosoph Liam Plant
1983 UCG Lit & Deb Eoin O'Maoileoin Damian Crawford TCD Hist Bill Maguire
1984 TCD Hist Eoin McCullough Brian Murray UCD L&H Pat Whyms
1985 UCC Philosoph David Holland Brian Hassett TCD Hist Gideon Taylor
1986 TCD Phil Declan McCavana David Keane UCG Lit & Deb Brendan Wilkins
1987 TCD Hist Aidan Kane Paul Gavin UCG Lit & Deb Conor Bowman
1988 UCC Philosoph Adrian Hunt Tim Murphy UCC Philosoph Robert Plant
1989 King's Inns Maeve Collins Pat Twomey UCD Law Soc Julian Clare
1990 UCC Philosoph Brendan Lenihan Don O'Sullivan Cadet School Tom Clonan
1991 King's Inns Tim O'Leary Pat Treacy UCD L&H Barra Faughnan
1992 UCD L&H Johanna Farrelly Pat O'Keeffe UCD Law Soc Cian Ferriter
1993 TCD Hist Brendan Foley Gavin Titley UCC Philosoph Kieran Healy
1994 UCD L&H Dara Ó Briain Marcus Dowling King's Inns Bernard Dunleavy
1995 UCC Philosoph Alan Roberts Diarmuid Conway UCC Philosoph Gerry Hyde
1996 King's Inns Helen Boyle Paul McDermott TCD Hist Douglas Clarke
1997 UL Debating Union Seamus Doran Padraic O'Halloran SADSI Matthew McCabe
1998 UCC Philosoph Muireann Ní Chinnéide Elizabeth Barrett TCD Hist Paul Gleeson
1999 UCD L&H Caoilfhionn Gallagher Bernadette Quigley King's Inns Rossa Fanning
2000 King's Inns Michael Deasy Rónán Mullen SADSI Louise Rouse
2001 TCD Hist Bríd McGrath Yvonne Campbell TCD Hist Aoife Titley
2002 TCD Hist Louie Mooney Brendan Kelly UCC Philosoph Conor Buckley
2003 UCD L&H Leo Mulrooney Colm Coyne TCD Hist Alison McIntyre
2004 DCU Ian Kehoe Michael Moriarty King's Inns Paul Brady
2005 King's Inns David Whelan Sam Collins UCD L&H Frank Kennedy
2006 King's Inns Barry Glynn Mark Murphy UCC Philosoph Diarmuid Early
2007 TCD Hist David Boughton Ciaran Denny King's Inns David Quinn
2008 TCD Hist Christopher Kissane David Kenny UCD L&H Stephen Boyle
2009 TCD Hist John Gallagher Andrea Mulligan UCD L&H Jeremy Kinsella
2010 TCD Hist Niamh Ní Mhaoileoin Niall Sherry Griffith College Dublin Sean O'Quigley
2011 King's Inns Lorcan Price Áine Hartigan TCD Law Mark Thuillier
2012 RCSI Eoin Kelleher Elizabeth Ahern-Flynn UCD Med Soc Michael Conroy
2013 TCD Bram Stoker Liam Brophy John Engle TCD Hist Kate Brady
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